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Riding in the rain

August 3, 2012

As I wrap up week four, I realize that this week, I’ve been rained on a lot. This is really not an issue because well, it’s just water, and overall, it’s warm – unlike much of the rain in other parts of the world, which chills you and makes you want to take a hot shower or hide inside with some soup, tea, hot chocolate, or other warm beverage. Rain here happens a lot, and if we waited for it to stop raining, we would never go anywhere.

For the first three weeks, the rain usually came in the middle of the day, while I was in the office, and by the time I was getting ready to leave the office, the Sun had come back out. Therefore, my comings and goings, whether on foot or by bike, have been mostly in the sunshine, though I carry my umbrella or rain poncho, depending on my mode of transport. 

It’s the rainy season, after all. Or it was – August is supposed to bring the “long hot season” here, but I’ve been told that lately, the seasons are all messed up (hello, global warming). And well, I am pretty close to the Equator, so what does one expect, right? Though I am not in the jungle, I am still impacted by the climate!

The good thing about this outfit is that it is androgynous!

So I was happily dealing with the rain – I stopped opening my windows to let in the cool air because it also let in the mosquitoes and I need no more of those, thank you very much. When I would be out and it would be raining (I say raining, not downpouring), I would be fine. This week, though…I’ve gotten wet a lot, and while on my bicycle, to boot, so I have a rather attractive photo to share of what I look like when riding in the rain.

I am finding that timing is everything when riding in the rain. The other day I was meeting at the Culture Center of Suriname, which has an American Corner and does a lot of great programming. All of a sudden, the unmistakable sound of a downpour came. No big deal, I thought. We can talk for a while longer and then it will stop.

It didn’t stop.

Forty-five minutes later (the downpours here are usually 10-15 minutes, then let up for a while, then another downpour, then usually it’s done), I went downstairs and looked out the doorway. Grey skies as far as I could see. Hmm. I saw down and started to read, figuring I could last a while until it let up or stopped. Twenty minutes later, it let up enough to just be raining, so I opened up my rain poncho, unlocked my bike, put my helmet on, and was off. Not long after I got home, the downpour started again.

Can I say – people are rude when they drive in the rain! Normally cars are pretty good about going around me, realizing the importance of sharing the road with bicycles (and especially when hey, you are nice and dry while I am getting soaked!). That day, though, I was run into the side/ditch/shoulder three times on my way home. I was not a happy person!

To be clear – I am not meaning to say that Surinamese drivers are all rude, or that they are rude all of the time. It was just this specific situation when a few of the drivers did this. Honestly, I’ve seen worse in the US when people see a bicyclist on the road. But I ended up in puddles a few times.

Yesterday when I was getting ready to go to Yoga, I saw the telltale darkening of the sky. Though Yoga did not start for 1/2 hour and it only takes about 5-7 minutes to bike to the Indian Cultural Center, I decided to leave early, and wait there. Good thing I did…the instant I arrived, the downpour started. 

Close call, that – but wait, I had to ride in the rain to get to Dutch lessons, and then home again.

Like I said, it’s been a wet week. But as my dad said to me (more than once) so many years ago, I am not made of sugar, and I won’t melt. Besides, I got used to going without an umbrella in rain when I lived in Seattle for five years…now, there’s a place that gets some rain, though it is always drizzle and does not seem to really accumulate. But because it was always drizzle, a person ended up either always using an umbrella/wearing a raincoat, or just accepting it and going without. I eventually went without.

Here, there is no real going without, or you’ll get really wet. But the good thing is, the sun always comes out again.

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